What is Affecting My Hormones?
Hormones levels are commonly affected when immune dysfunction, infections and toxicities are present in the body. The added stress on the body shunts a large portion of the building blocks for hormones from making things like progesterone to making cortisol, our “stress hormone”. In females especially, we often can gauge overall inflammation in the body by the severity of our menstrual cycles. Severe symptoms of PMS could mean significant low-grade inflammation throughout the body..
More about Hormones..
When it comes to lab testing, a good hormonal panel should include the male and female hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Your adrenal status can be assessed by checking your DHEA and cortisol levels. Under acute stress, cortisol will elevate as a protective mechanism in what we traditional call the “fight or flight” response. Cortisol makes glucose readily available for use in the tissues, heightens your awareness and focus, and acts as an anti-inflammatory hormone when it is released in the appropriate amounts and at the appropriate times. However, when cortisol remains too high for too long, we might see weight gain, blood pressure dysregulation, risk for osteoporosis, muscle weakness and mood swings. This is why monitoring and managing cortisol levels while the body is under chronic stress is critical to your treatment.
Another hormone that is important to monitor is DHEA. DHEA is like the mother of male and female hormones. From DHEA our body can make testosterone and estrogen. When the body is under a lot of stress, the precursor for DHEA, pregnenolone, can be directed more towards making stress hormones such as cortisol, instead of DHEA. In this case, the building block of DHEA is insufficient to make male and female hormones. When testing for these hormones, we often work with a company called ZRT. Their website is located here: http://www.zrtlab.com/test-specialties/stress-hormones/.
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